The Undertaker of the Desert – 1843 Magazine

Shot on assignment for The Economist’s 1843 Magazine on January 2022

“César Ortigoza looked out over the Arizona desert and sighed ‘It’s not easy out there,’ he said. He is the co-founder of Armadillos group, a volunteer organisation which helps families find the bodies of the many migrants who disappear in the US-Mexico borderlands. Since their founding, Ortigoza estimates that his organisation has found hundreds of bodes. He once located 12 in a single day.

In 2018 he started searching for the bodies of three migrants who had been reported missing. It would end up taking him months.”

Together with writer Matthew Bremner we followed Ortigoza on one of his searches along the US-Mexico border. Later on, we visited the relatives of the  small group who perished in the border in their hometowns in the Mexican state of Sinaloa to document their environments and what they left behind.